Child poverty

Van Beynen on the money

Martin Van Beynen occasionally has a ripper of an article.

This is one of those occasions.

Guess what? Fixing child poverty in New Zealand is not that hard.

Let’s call it the John Minto solution. First, every family with less than a certain income will be brought up to a minimum stipend based on what is required for the family to live comfortably in their location.

If they can’t find good quality accommodation at a reasonable price, maybe because they have a bad credit record or a record of smashing up their previous flats, then the state will provide them with a nice place to live in a nice street at a modest rent.

If they have harmful addictions, those will receive concentrated and long term attention. However long it takes. Tendencies towards crime and violence will be met with counselling and psychiatric help. Any health, including mental health, issues will receive the best specialist care and they will receive 24hr life coaching and advice from trained support staff. Children will receive extra tuition and any proclivities towards anti-social behaviour will be handled at a best practice standard.

If members of the family want to work, they will be guaranteed a meaningful job at a good wage and all the training and support they need. All this help will be provided in a non-judgmental and unconditional way. If they want to have more children, that’s fine too.

Cost? Not relevant.

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Spot on Judith: “I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring.”

Judith Collins is dead right in her comments about who is responsible for the so-called child poverty issue.

Of course, the perpetually outraged have decided to scream and the Media party have joined in.

Children’s advocates are upset by Justice Minister Judith Collins’ comments apparently blaming many child poverty problems on parents.

At the Police Association annual conference in Wellington, the minister responded to a question from a Northland police officer, who said police were often busy with gangs, RNZreported.

Gangs often had members who experienced poverty as children, he said.

New Zealand child welfare policies were criticised by the United Nations in its latest report, which called for urgent measures to combat violence, abuse, and neglect.

Collins said the government was doing more for child poverty than the UN and money was available in New Zealand for those in need, the report said.    Read more »

UNICEF pimps a report so they can bludge more cash from Kiwis

UNICEF are pimping a report into child poverty that claims more kids than ever before are living below some arbitrary poverty line.

A poverty line that would have three-quarters of the third world gagging at such largesse.

UNICEF says it’s time the Government did something to help lift Māori and Pasifika children out of poverty, even if it means targeting them because of their race.

About 300,000 Kiwi kids live below the poverty line according to UNICEF. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Saturday slammed New Zealand’s ongoing failure to fix the problem.

UNICEF New Zealand executive director Vivien Maidaborn told The Nation on Sunday the Government’s doing a lot, but the outcomes “don’t stack up” because they aren’t addressing the wider causes of poverty.

“Specific initiatives for children will only ever go so far. It needs to be connected to housing policy, employment policy, economic development.”

The UN report said affirmative action should be taken “if necessary”, and even singled out Māori and Pasifika children, as well as “ethnic minorities, refugee children, migrant children, children with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and intersex children and children living with persons from these groups”.   Read more »

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Labour are dead in the water – now resorting to reheating old policy

It is a sad political party that reheats yesterday’s dog sick as policy.

Political parties are being urged to stop quibbling over definitions of child poverty and start working together to do something about it.

It’s become a burning issue since Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft threw out a challenge at the weekend for child poverty to be cut by 10 per cent a year.

The government doesn’t accept that any one measure is accurate and says it’s better to focus on the causes of deprivation.

Labour says that’s cowardly and party leader Andrew Little is going with Judge Becroft’s figure of 149,000 children in poverty.

[…]   Read more »

Simon Collins’ wet dream: a budget that doesn’t fix child poverty

Simon Collins has had his wet dreams realised. A budget that doesn’t fix child poverty.

Especially since child poverty is defined as a percentage of the median wage, it is practically unsolvable….which allows him to pimp some more poor whinging bludgers.

Child poverty advocates say the Budget provides no relief for families struggling to cope with high rents and low incomes.

Interesting term…’child poverty advocates’…are they really in favour of child poverty?

Child Poverty Action Group economist Dr Susan St John said she was hoping for improvements in housing subsidies and family tax credits, but the Budget provided neither of them.

Instead, the Government is quietly implementing changes announced in 2011 to lower the income limit for the maximum family tax credits from $36,827 to $35,000 a year, and to raise the rate at which the credits are reduced from 20c to 25c for every extra dollar earned above the limit.   Read more »

The meaninglessness of Child Poverty Reports

Martin van Beynan, who I must say was a bit of a cock when it came to dealing with me has a very good opinion piece on child poverty and how meaningless all the reports that are produced are.

If you lived next door to children living in severe poverty, you would probably do something to help out.

You might, for instance, slip the family a few hundred bucks around Christmas, have them over for dinner occasionally or pay the odd household bill for them.

But living cheek by jowl with the poor doesn’t happen to middle NZ very much any more.

The gap has widened and the poor congregate in their enclaves and middle NZ goes some place else.

Street life doesn’t bring the classes together.

But we hear about poverty quite a bit because, as an advanced society, we have measures and statistics to monitor how we are treating the most vulnerable.

We have reports like the Child Poverty Monitor which was released this week.

It said 305,000 dependent New Zealanders aged 0-17 were living in income poverty. Using another measure, it reported 220,500 of the same age group were living in “severe poverty”.

It generated the usual response of Government bashing, capitalist blaming and gnashing of teeth. John Key scandalised Labour’s children’s spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern by linking poverty to drug use.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the Government’s refusal to end child poverty was putting children’s lives at risk.

And then, as is becoming usual, nothing.

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The inconsistency of the Green party

This was Kennedy Graham in parliament on 2 December:

Dr Kennedy Graham: Has the Government made any estimate of the percentage reduction required in our emissions in order for New Zealand to have its fair share of the global carbon budget consistent with 2 degrees?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I suspect that calculation may well have been done, but I do not have the numbers to hand. The Government is satisfied that the targets we are talking about at the conference in Paris represent an adequate balance of our contribution to reducing both climate change and temperature increase with the fact that for New Zealand the cost of reducing another tonne of carbon emissions is higher than for any other developed country.

Dr Kennedy Graham: What are the principles of fairness that his Government has used when it decided on its self-described “fair reduction target” of 11 percent of 1990 levels?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Pretty much what I have just said and that is carrying our share of the burden of reducing carbon emissions across the globe on the one hand, and on the other hand balancing it up with recognising that it costs New Zealand more than pretty much every other developed country to reduce carbon emissions by another tonne because of the unique mix of carbon emissions that New Zealand produces.   Read more »

Child poverty on the increase only because of ridiculous targets

The latest report tells us 29 per cent of children lived in poverty in 2014, up from 24 per cent the previous year. About 14 per cent live in material hardship, lacking several of the items most New Zealanders would consider essential, and three out of five of the 29 per cent in poverty are likely to see no improvement in their situation over seven years. This is a disgrace.

There is no shortage of surveys measuring these things. Yesterday, our front page featured an ASB housing analysis that found a disproportionate number of houses in Auckland are home to two or even three families. This is the downside of average house prices approaching $1 million and rents that will probably continue to rise if investors’ expectations of capital gains are not constrained.

The Children’s Commissioner reports 16 per cent of children in overcrowded houses (defined as at least one bedroom short), including half of all children in Pacific ethnic groups. The figures are always troubling and governments must do what they can. When they provide some suggested solutions, the country needs to know whether it is working. At this rate we will have no report on this year’s Budget decisions until end of 2017. Surely social analysts can do better. Our children deserve nothing less.

An overcrowded house is at least one bedroom short.  So if two kids share a bedroom, that’s poverty?   It used to be reality.  These are all lofty goals to aspire to, but we’re getting to the point where the standard of living to be met needs to include a holiday, fast broadband and a bedroom for every child to prevent a “poverty” label, we’re really just chasing our tails.   Read more »

Government getting bashed with child poverty stats because it is an ungettable target

Whilst explaining is losing, when it comes to “child poverty” every government is going to be losing when it comes to trying to explain that the whole pretence is a joke.

The government has made a concerted effort to address all of the issues that contribute to child hardship, according to Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

Mrs Tolley was responding to the annual child poverty report released today by the Children’s Commissioner, which said almost a third of the country’s children now lived in poverty – an increase of 45,000 since last year.

Mrs Tolley said there was a significant number of children living in conditions that were worse than what the government would want and it did have to take notice of that.

She said that was why the government had lifted the benefit by $25 a week, increased working for families and child care assistant rates, as well as other supporting other initiatives like free doctors’ visits for under 13s.   Read more »

Working for Families “about encouraging parents to work more”

I’ve always said that Working for Families was middle class welfare and you know it is true when the whingers collective starts moaning about how the government gives with one hand but takes with the other.

There seems to be a core belief that this is an entitlement and should forever remain.

The Child Poverty Action Group is calling for a radical overhaul of support to low income families to improve the lives of the poorest children.

The group said constant tinkering to the Working for Families scheme meant the policy was no longer about lifting children out of poverty, but about encouraging parents to work more.

There were fears that more changes due to come into force in April would also leave more families struggling.

Last year 381,000 families received Working for Families payments, down 11 percent compared to five years ago.

Over the same period, spending on the scheme has fallen 12 percent to $2.5 billion last year. Inland Revenue estimated the scheme would cost $2.4 billion this year.

Social Services Minister Anne Tolley said fewer families needed help because incomes were rising.

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